Animal Aid

Tell the BBC that the Death of McKelvey Was Avoidable

Posted 9 April 2008

McKelvey, the horse who had been a star feature on BBC1 television's the One Show, was killed at the Grand National on Saturday 5 April. He had unseated his rider at the 20th fence, cleared the 21st, but then appeared to get into difficulties and was said to have damaged his back after attempting to clear the rails.

McKelvey had suffered a serious tendon injury during the 2007 Grand National and had been receiving intensive treatment so that he could be entered into this year’s gruelling 4-and-a-half-mile event. He had recently been entered into two less taxing hurdle races – in which he failed to show any ability – before being confronted with the huge and difficult Grand National fences.

The National course is deliberately dangerous, with a set field of up to 40 animals taking part – an exceptionally large number. These factors ensure that fatalities occur on the course most years.

Thirty-eight horses have died at the Aintree meeting since 1997 – eleven of them in the big race itself.

Our view – based on the evidence – is that the Grand National should be banned because it remains unacceptably hazardous. McKelvey was this year’s victim. Graphic Approach was the 2007 victim. Two horses died on the same National course on Friday this year (Time To Sell and In The High Grass) and another died in the same race last year (Lord Rodney).

By featuring McKelvey, the One Show reinforced the misguided idea that the Grand National is a wonderful and grand spectacle. No amount of lamenting after the incident will bring back McKelvey. His death on Saturday was avoidable – he should not have been made to run the Grand National.

Please contact the show politely to tell them your views. The programme has since made reference to the large number of comments they had received stating that the horse should not have been entered into the Grand National. Visit The One Show contact page.

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